Paving The Way To A Better Future: Hilliard Trail Improvements On The Way In 2022Posted February 10, 2022 in Streets and Public Service
The City has made trail connectivity and active transportation a priority, and the path is now paved for several new pedestrian-bike projects to become reality in 2022. Hilliard currently has 35 miles of trails or shared-use paths, and that number will soon be growing.
“There’s definitely a yearning from residents to be able to walk and bike places in our community,” said Letty Schamp, Director of Transportation & Mobility. “But people have to feel safe, and that’s why we’re prioritizing these trail connections and crosswalk improvements.”
Schamp highlighted five projects that residents can expect to begin this year. First is construction of a segment of Hayden Run Trail on the Amazon property. This summer, work will begin to connect the Heritage Trail to the intersection of Leppert Road and Davidson Road, including a crosswalk with a flashing beacon north of Davidson Road.
The Old Hilliard area near Hilliard Darby High School will also see improvements with a trail connection from the athletic service drives to the Heritage Rail Trail along Merchant Park. This shared-use trail will run adjacent to “The Junction”, Hilliard’s new co-working building that was recently renovated by “The Westwood Collective.”
Two other projects taking place near Cosgray Road will improve connectivity from The Square at Latham Park Apartments to Latham Park. The Parkmeadow Lane trail connector will provide easier access to a bridge over Clover Groff Run and the Latham Park trail extension will also improve connectivity to the adjacent neighborhood.
Along Scioto Darby Road, the trail gap in front of Darby Creek Nursery will be addressed with a temporary sidewalk that will give walkers and bikers a reliable connection to travel through the area until a more permanent solution can be built.
“Connecting neighborhoods to places people want to go to is huge,” Schamp said. “It’s really about giving people options to get places within our community without having to get into a car. It’s also about recreation and quality of life.”
Schamp said most of the funding for 2022 projects was appropriated by City Council in the 2022 Capital Improvement Budget, with a portion carried over from 2021. Pedestrian/Bicycle Mobility and Safety Improvements (T-133) has been an annual program in the City’s Capital Improvements Plan since 2013.
he additional 0.5-percent increase on income tax that is being generated by Issue 22 provides permanent funding for Recreation and Parks, opening new possibilities in the years ahead. Trail acquisition, development, and maintenance will be major priorities.
Schamp said they’ve also budgeted funds for a trail condition assessment this summer. Residents may see a Google car buzzing around Hilliard trails with special cameras and sensors. The goal is to identify problem areas and prioritize maintenance based on need.
Furthermore, a sidewalk maintenance program will also be initiated in 2022. The City plans to contract with a company to assess all of Hilliard’s sidewalks to identify condition, trip hazards, cracks, and severe slopes to give each section of sidewalk a condition score. This software tool will help the City identify public and private responsibility for repairs, prioritize repairs, and aid in the planning and budgeting process.
Other projects on the horizon include a feasibility study along Cemetery Road over the I-270 corridor to identify how the City can improve ped-bike connections across the highway. The City anticipates that funds coming to the region through the recently passed federal infrastructure bill will prioritize the much-needed pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure that has traditionally been an afterthought.
The City wants to be prepared to apply for this new revenue stream to meet the needs of Hilliard residents in the future. There will be opportunities for public involvement later in 2022.
“We are very fortunate to have the trail network that we do in Hilliard, but it can always be improved,” Schamp said. “There are still plenty of neighborhoods that are underserved and regional connections that need to be made, which means our job is far from done.”